TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

First Michigan case of H3N2v in 2013 confirmed

The Michigan Departments of Community Health and Agriculture and Rural Development and the Berrien County Health Department announced on Friday the first confirmed case of H3N2 variant in 2013.

A child was confirmed to have an H3N2v infection after attending the Berrien County Youth Fair between August 12 and 17. The child was reported to have contracted the illness from the swine at the fair; he was not hospitalized.

A sick pig from the fair tested positive for Influenza A H3N2 during a test conducted at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The Michigan public health agencies has warned meat processing plants across the Midwest of the incident to ensure their employees take preventatives methods against contracting the illness.

"Influenza is common to swine and is not a food safety concern," MDARD Animal Industry Division Director and State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill said. "Berrien County Youth Fair had hand washing stations, posters and good biosecurity practices in place, and it's important that all fairs continue these practices."

The current season flu vaccine will not protect against H3N2v. Michigan health officials are thus warning the public to take preventative methods against an infection, such as keeping proper hygiene. The H3N2v strain has not shown itself to be highly contagious from person-to-person, but health officials said precautions should still be taken.

"While Michigan did see a handful of H3N2v cases in 2012, this first case for 2013 should serve as an important reminder of the simple steps that can be taken to protect our health as we would with any flu season," Chief Medical Executive with the MDCH Dr. Matthew Davis said. "Washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and staying home when you feel sick are some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from becoming ill. This serves as a good reminder for Michigan residents that everyone 6 months and older should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year."